By February 12, 2012

Snacking Smart Instead of Sneaking Bad Snacks

Snacks can make or break a diet. You don’t give much thought to snacks before you start dieting. After all, if everything you’re eating is unhealthy, then occasional snacks are the least of your worries.  You tend not to give snacks much thought when you eat entire meals that are packed with trans fat and excessive calories. But every little bit makes a difference, be it good or bad, when you’re trying to change your eating habits.

Once you start watching what you eat you have to include snacks into the equation. If you follow your limits during a meal, but start snacking afterward, it ruins the positive effect of healthy meals. Sneaking a sugary soda and candy bar every afternoon will send your diet into a tailspin.

When you’re on a diet that works, you may feel yourself wanting to snack more than ever. This is because you’ve grown accustomed to getting unhealthy food at some point during the day, and you’re not getting it with your meals anymore. If you had cravings for salt and sugar before, it’ll be even worse now. Believe it or not, a “small” snack can be enough to undo the positive advantages of an entire healthy meal. Especially when you “super size” your snack portions because you’re still hungry.

Be aware of your cravings and nip them in the bud.

We’ve all done it at some point. You grab a big bag of popcorn and a soda while watching television, fix a big sloppy sandwich too late in the evening, go to a drive through for some greasy fries while you’re out running errands. Unhealthy snacks are so much easier to obtain than healthy ones. And habits are hard to break.

The most important thing you can do to combat this habit is to be aware of your cravings and nip them in the bud. The best way to do that is to find out which healthy foods work best to help you personally fight temptation.

Snacking doesn’t always have to be bad for you. Pick out something that you normally eat for a snack, like a candy bar; and replace it with an apple. Find out which foods are passable as snacks and keep them in stock. Toss a banana in your purse when you run errands and take a bag of healthy snacks to work with you each day.

Even if you haven’t started a full diet yet, this little trick with snacks can be a great start. It’s just a simple system of replacement. Eat some frozen yogurt when you want ice cream, eat an orange instead of drinking an orange soda, have a whole grain sandwich with lean turkey instead of a BLT with mayonnaise. Take a package of almonds to the movies so you aren’t tempted to buy buttered popcorn.

Cravings are going to happen; it’s unavoidable. You should focus on finding ways to overcome cravings safely instead of attempting to ignore them. Otherwise, you’ll eventually crack under pressure and binge eat a bag of chips, a package of cookies, and a gallon of ice cream.

Healthy eating habits will eventually become your new habit. But until then, plan ahead so you aren’t constantly tempted by snack attacks.